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Native American Woman Olivia Lone Bear, Mother of 5, Missing in North Dakota Oil Fields

StoryNovember 29, 2017
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We look at the case of Olivia Lone Bear, yet another Native American woman who has gone missing in the oil fields of North Dakota. We speak with her brother, Matthew Lone Bear, who is part of a daily search to look for his sister since she went missing on October 25 in New Town, North Dakota. Olivia Lone Bear is the mother of five children. We also speak with Mary Kathryn Nagle, a Cherokee writer and lawyer.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about violence against women, and we’re joined now via Democracy Now! video stream by Matthew Lone Bear, brother of Olivia Lone Bear, who went missing October 25th in New Town, North Dakota. She’s the mother of five. Matthew is part of the daily ground search for his sister. The Bismarck Tribune reports Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox is talking to federal, state and tribal leaders about getting more support for the search. In addition to Mary Kathryn Nagle, we are joined now by Matt Lone Bear.

Can you tell us what you know about your sister?

MATTHEW LONE BEAR: She was outgoing, and, yeah, she liked to hang out at casinos and bars, and she also, you know, really cared for her children.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you know where she is?

MATTHEW LONE BEAR: No clue. We have been searching—this would be our 29th day. Yeah, we’ve—the last known video that we found, she’s going west on Main Street in New Town. It was taken off a bank camera. So that’s the most updated version that we have. And she still has a vehicle.

AMY GOODMAN: When you hear this story, Mary Kathryn Nagle, your thoughts? Certainly, Olivia Lone Bear is not the first Native American woman who has gone missing in North Dakota.

MARY KATHRYN NAGLE: No. And I just want to say, first and foremost, that, Matthew, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family, and that no one should have to go through this. But, unfortunately, as you point out, Amy, this is all too common. And we have the highest rates across the United States, again, in Indian country, of violence, but in particular in North Dakota, where the rates of oil extraction have skyrocketed since 2005 in the Bakken oil boom.

As a result of that, over 100,000 men from outside of the state of North Dakota have moved to the state of North Dakota to live in man camps that the oil companies have set up. And, unfortunately, as Senator Heidi Heitkamp has noted, as the former U.S. attorney for the state of North Dakota has noted, the resulting rates of violence, drug, of course, and crime and burglary have skyrocketed, but also, in particular, domestic violence and sexual assault, including rape and sex trafficking.

And numerous leaders, both at the state and federal level, have now noticed that North Dakota—some of the towns in North Dakota within the Bakken boom and some within the Fort Berthold Reservation, where Olivia is from, now have some of the highest rates of sex trafficking in the United States.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Matthew Lone Bear, could you talk about how local authorities have been dealing with the disappearance of your sister? Do you feel that they are making this a priority?

MATTHEW LONE BEAR: Uh, no. I think there definitely needs to be a policy put into place here, definitely. We’re kind of all learning together right now. And, I mean, we still haven’t gotten any like water support from the local PD. But I think it’s all new to us altogether. So, there definitely needs to be a policy put into place.

AMY GOODMAN: And what are your—what is your family calling for now, Matthew?

MATTHEW LONE BEAR: We do still need water support. We do need people on the ground, definitely, because the Fort Berthold Reservation is over a million—or just about a million acres. So that’s a lot of ground to cover. The more people we can get in before the snow falls and before the lake freezes—you know, we want to get as much done as possible before then.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. Matthew Lone Bear, brother of Olivia Lone Bear, missing from New Town, North Dakota. We’ll continue to follow Olivia’s story. And Mary Kathryn Nagle, joining us from Oklahoma, a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a partner at the Pipestem law firm, dedicated to the restoration of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’ll get an update on what’s happening after the Honduran elections, with the opposition candidate ahead. What is happening? Why aren’t results being released? Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: Liliana Felipe, performing the protest anthem “They are Afraid of Us Because We are Not Afraid.” I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Tensions are rising in Honduras, where the electoral court still hasn’t released the full results from Sunday’s presidential election. The U.S.-backed President Juan Orlando Hernández was widely expected to win the race, despite growing concerns about his consolidation of power and his militarization of the country.

But in an apparent upset, partial election results released on Monday showed his main challenger, Salvador Nasralla, leading Hernández by five points. Nasralla is the head of a newly formed coalition of center and left political parties called the Alliance Against the Dictatorship. The alliance includes the leftist party of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in 2009. This is Salvador Nasralla speaking Tuesday.

SALVADOR NASRALLA: [translated] Even though we have a five-point advantage, they can still try to steal the election from us. I’m asking the Supreme Election Tribunal—which right now is not supreme, because it obeys the orders of its boss, the president—fulfill your responsibility and release today a partial verdict about the election results.

AMY GOODMAN: Many of Nasralla’s supporters are concerned the electoral court may now be trying to rig the vote in Hernández’s favor. On Tuesday, the electoral court released new partial results, showing the gap between Nasralla and Hernández has narrowed, with Nasralla now leading by only 2 percentage points. This is Guillermo Valle, the head of the Innovation and Unity Party, which is part of the coalition that makes up the Alliance Against the Dictatorship, also speaking Tuesday.

GUILLERMO VALLE: [translated] We’ve sent out an urgent alert. For us, it’s critical. It’s very serious, this situation where the conspiratorial traitors of the government are practically carrying out a coup d’état.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Suyapa Portillo. She’s an assistant professor of Chicano and Latino studies at Pitzer College in California. She just returned from Honduras, where she was an election observer.

Professor Portillo, can you hear us? We were hoping—we’re having a little sound problem right now. We’re going to go to a bit of a music break, go back to that music, and see if we can get her on the telephone.


AMY GOODMAN: Again, that was Liliana Felipe, performing the protest anthem “They are Afraid of Us Because We are Not Afraid.” And unfortunately, we’re afraid to inform you we could not get our next guest on the phone. We hope to speak with her tomorrow, Suyapa Portillo. We’re having some disconnect with our studio in California. But we, of course, will update folks at democracynow.org about the latest on the Honduran elections, so close, the opposition candidate actually ahead of President Hernández. Not clear why the election committee is not releasing the information that they have so far. And we’ll give you more information at democracynow.org.

That does it for our show. Congratulations to Democracy Now! producer Hany Massoud and his wife Ayesha on the birth of their daughter, Amina.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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